James Cummings, A world of difference: Myths and misconceptions about the TEI

The Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative are generally recognized in the digital humanities as important and foundational standards for many types of research in the field. The TEI Guidelines are generalistic, seeking to enable the largest possible user base encoding digital texts for a wide range of purposes. Consulting on many TEI-based projects, teaching TEI workshops, and volunteering as part of the TEI Technical Council, I have encountered many myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about the TEI. Indeed, one plenary lecturer once claimed ‘the problem with the TEI is it has too many tags and there is no way to change it’. Inspired by myths such as this, this article will detail common misconceptions about the TEI that I have encountered, concentrating on those technical myths that will help increase knowledge about the TEI misconceptions along the way. The article ends with a consideration of why these myths might have arisen, and what might be able to be done about them.

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